Drum confident Moira will receive drought funding, despite mix up

By Ashlea Witoslawski

Farmers across Moira Shire have been hung out to dry as the community waits in anticipation for funding commitments.

Last month, the municipality missed out on $1 million in Federal Government drought funding by .1 per cent due to its 16.9 per cent agricultural industry employment statistic.

With eligibility criteria set at 17 per cent as part of the drought communities program, Federal Member for Nicholls Damian Drum preemptively said the shire would be granted funds on October 31 during a tour through his electorate with Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack.

Mr Drum said he was disappointed to last week concede the deal had not been made, but said he was confident funds would be delivered to the shire before the end of the year.

“I have given my word to the Moira Shire mayor and chief executive that this will happen and they fully expect the money will come their way,” Mr Drum said.

“We are all relaxed and confident about receiving this funding.”

Mr Drum said he would continue to speak with Federal Water Resources Minister and fellow Nationals member David Littleproud to ensure funding would be delivered swiftly to the shire.

“I am urging the minister to deliver the much-needed assistance and I have every expectation that this will happen soon,” he said.

Moira Shire Mayor Libro Mustica said he was confident the funding would be delivered in due course.

“Agriculture is the engine room of our local economy - for every job on-farm in Moira there is at least another four off-farm in processing, transport even finance, science and agronomy so the impact is amplified through local business and the community,” Mr Mustica said.

“It’s in these times that our local business, community and council unite to support each other, but we can’t shoulder the load on our own - we need assistance from outside the shire and in particular from the other levels of government.”

Mr Drum believed Moira Shire would be confirmed as a successful funding recipient before Christmas.